John Stewart and Giles Mackie are probably the most southerly Irishmen in the world: they're celebrating St Patrick's Day aboard leading Global Challenge yacht BP Explorer

They may be 10,000 miles from the green, green grass of home and leading Leg 4 of the Global Challenge but that’s no excuse to forget their traditions, especially ones that involve a party. At 53 degrees south, John Stewart (pictured right) and Giles Mackie are probably the most southerly Irishmen in the world to be celebrating St Patrick’s Day.

In true Irish style John and Giles, the two Belfast boys have dressed up in green, painted shamrocks on their cheeks, dug out some of the black stuff and have been up for the craic, lifting the spirits of the crew as they battle the 60ft waves of the Southern Ocean.

John (34) from Balbriggan, Co. Dublin and Giles (30) who is from Glenavy, Crumlin, Co Antrim are both part of the BP Explorer yacht which is currently leading the Global Challenge Round the World Yacht Race. Having set off from Sydney on February 27 the 12 participating yachts are currently on one of the most treacherous legs of the race – 6,000 miles of Southern Ocean between Australia and South Africa.

“With just our 1.5 kg personal weight allowance, I had been worried how we would be able to bring something to celebrate St Paddy’s on the boat. Fortunately for us, some Ozzie leprechauns managed to sneak on board and stash away 6 cans of Guinness and a bottle of Jameson’s whiskey”, said Giles Mackie speaking from the yacht.

“These are probably the best-travelled cans of Guinness in the world,” said John Stewart, “Brewed in Ireland, bought in Australia and savoured somewhere near Antarctica! Slainte everyone, Happy St Patrick’s!”

The yachts are due to arrive in Cape Town on 4 April where they will under go repairs before setting off to Boston, La Rochelle and finally back to Portsmouth on 17 July.